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Noticias Detalles

Date: 15/04/2019

Kosovo managed to close their hosting of both the youth (U19) and junior (U21) 2019 IHF Men’s Trophy – Intercontinental Phase with a gold medal and a bit of history as their U21 side became the first Kosovan side in team sports, male or female, to qualify through to a world championship.

IHF.info was in Kosovo and brings you some insight from their championship-winning junior side.

Fatmir MUHAXHERI (KOS) Head Coach

On winning the title and qualifying for the 2019 IHF Men’s Junior World Championship in Spain:

I am feeling very good. We deserved it as we have trained for four years, tried for four years and we deserve to be part of a world championship in Spain. Now we will work harder and harder to go in our best way to Spain.

On the battle with Chinese Taipei in the final which they eventually won 30:26, but led clearly early on:

They were playing pressing one-on-one and we knew how to deal with it so that’s why there was so much difference at the beginning. As coaches, we were not coordinated too good with the players and that allowed them to come back again.

But I took the time out in the 27th minute and then I was talking with my players to come back again with that difference of goals so in the second half we came back again with the same difference.

Jon MUQOLLI (KOS) captain, left back

On beating Chinese Taipei in their opening game:
It’s very important for us to have a good beginning as we wanted to win this tournament. We weren’t prepared for their 3-3 defence. It was a very, very difficult game in the first 15 minutes because they were so quick and strong but after then we took the game into our own hands.

On playing for his country and in front of his family and friends:
I feel very proud that I play for my country, I don’t have words to explain the feeling when I wear the shirt and hear the anthem. 

It’s very important [to see our family and friends after the game] because all of this stuff is made for us to play in Kosovo and our families are coming to see us play and, of course, winning.

On handball in his country:
In Kosovo it is very, very difficult to play because we don’t have very good conditions, but I think we have very good talent and with hard work we can go far.

Atdhe BASHOLLI (KOS) right back

On the importance of a packed-out hall with Kosovo fans for the final:

The noise was very nice. The extra player was the public here and we were inspired by them, they were perfect for us. 

On Chinese Taipei starting slow, but coming back strong:

Our defence was fantastic at the beginning and that’s why it became 9:1 - we didn’t believe too much that this would happen. We were a little bit afraid when they came close, but we came back again. It’s fantastic to win. 

On the team progressing and improving through the tournament to win:

We came for a win and we did it. We will try and make our games better and better. My team are super, they are just like my family and we are perfect together.

Photo: Kosovo Handball Federation